Why to Stick to the Outer Aisles of Your Local Grocery Store

Take a moment to visualize your local grocery store. Chances are the fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy and fresh bread sections are all located around the outside perimeter of the store. Sounds like you could make some pretty healthy meals out of these items, right? These fresh foods are generally healthier than most of the items found in the center aisles so this is where you will want to concentrate most of your shopping. When looking at the food choices in the interior aisles they tend to be characterized as “pantry” foods which are typically pre-packaged and more heavily processed to withstand a longer shelf life. However, there are still some instances where it is ok to venture into the inside aisles.

Grocery Store Blog PostAside from finding the most nutrient rich foods, when you stick to the outer perimeter of the store this will also help you avoid any impulse snack buys you tend to purchase when you walk down the center cookie aisle, for example. You may also find that you are more likely to try new healthy foods and incorporate them into a recipe that you’ve wanted to try!


Mayo Clinic

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy



The ‘Skinny’ on Artificial Sweeteners

Are Artificial Sweeteners Hurting Your Weight Loss Efforts?

By Mallory McCormick

Artificial SweetenersThe majority of us have heard conflicting information regarding artificial sweeteners and the impact they have on your health. However, few of us are aware of the severity of the impact it can have on not only your health but also your weight loss efforts. Did you know that consuming artificial sweeteners on a daily basis has the potential to be worse for you then consuming a candy bar?

Some of the most popular artificial sweeteners available today are Splenda, Sucralose, NutraSweet, Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Sucron and Equal. The main issue with artificial sweeteners is you get the sweet taste without an y sugar actually entering your blood. As soon as your body tastes something sweet, the brain sends a signal to the pancreas to prepare for sugar by producing insulin. So what is the problem? According to Dr. Ray Hinish there are two reasons:  First, any increase in insulin will stop fat loss hormonal signals to our body. Second, insulin will cause blood sugar levels to drop, which promotes increased hunger after the artificial sweetener is consumed. This phenomenon is referred to as “Calorie Dysregulation” where your body has trouble calibrating the high degree of sweetness with the low calorie consumption, so you overeat later. You might think you can trick your body into consuming sweet foods without the calories but the reality is you can’t trick your body.

In one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who drink just one diet soda a day had a 33% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. However, most people usually don’t have just one diet soda; they have a few during the day. Artificial sweeteners are highly addictive and have even been shown to lower serotonin levels, which also happens to be linked to increased sugar cravings.

Bottom line is artificial sweeteners result in increased cravings for sugar, weight gain around the waistline and may even lead to diabetes and early signs of aging. If you feel like you need a sweetener, Dr. Hinish and many other health experts recommend you use Stevia, Xylitol or Erythritol. These are referred to as sugar alcohols, not artificial sweeteners, and can be a healthier, natural option to use in moderation as a replacement. They have been shown to reduce cavities, help with weight loss and they do not impact blood sugar. I encourage you to stop using artificial sweeteners and see how your body reacts. Many find this is a solution to stop insane sugar cravings and it can be a breakthrough for weight improvement.


The Virgin Diet Lifestyle Show

“Artificial Sweeteners: Science Experiment gone Wrong” Podcast

JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS Celebrity nutrition and Fitness Expert


Cut the Fat

“Diet Soda and Weight Gain – Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Loss or Weight Gain?” Podcast

Dr. Ray Hinish, Nutritional Pharmacist, Certified Personal Trainer, & Certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach.


Weigh and Win Begins Fifth Year with 60,000 Participants and 66 Kiosk Locations throughout Colorado

4th year press release topperMEDIA CONTACT: Kaytee Long | Health Promotion Manager| O: 303-694-8012 |C: 303-619-8571 | klong@weighandwin.com

47 Percent of Participants with Two or More Weigh-ins have Achieved a 5 Percent Weight Improvement

DENVER, April 1, 2015 ­­Weigh and Win launches its fifth successful year as Colorado’s premier digital health and wellness program. Since inception in 2011, the only free, community platform that pays participants to lose weight has seen great successes, enrolling 60,000 participants and partnering with 66 community kiosk hosts throughout Colorado. In total, Coloradans have shed 178,000 pounds and earned more than $300,000 in cash rewards. Weigh and Win is primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente.

Last year alone, 15,000 Coloradans enrolled in the program and 13 new kiosks were installed across the state.

“When we launched Weigh and Win more than four years ago, we hoped to inspire and motivate Coloradans to live healthier lifestyles. Today, the program has reached tens of thousands of individuals all across our state,” said Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, vice president of government, external relations, and research for Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “We couldn’t be more excited about the tremendous success of Weigh and Win and we look forward to what’s ahead.”

Weigh and Win is offered for free to all Colorado residents 18 and older and provides tailored health coaching via text message and email. Participants receive fitness and nutrition plans, a weekly grocery list and unlimited access to health coaches over the phone or email. Cash incentives are provided for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, as well as other prizes for those who begin the program with a healthy BMI.

Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at community kiosks. The kiosk measures weight, BMI, and takes a full-length photograph – providing a visual progress report of participant weight improvement.

“Not only did I lose weight, I increased my fitness level and created healthy eating habits I plan on maintaining for the rest of my life,” said Weigh and Win participant John Bullers. “Weigh and Win kept me motivated by sending helpful emails and rewarding me for my efforts. I’m not sure I could have made it without their help.”

The average weight improvement for a successful Weigh and Win participant after one year in the program is 17.7 pounds or an 8 percent weight loss. Recent research suggests that even a weight loss of 3-5 percent produces meaningful health benefits, such as reducing risk for Type 2 Diabetes and the need for cholesterol and heart medications. To date, 47 percent of participants with two or more weigh-ins, who have been involved in the program for six months or more, have achieved a 5 percent weight improvement and 60 percent of participants from the same population have achieved a 3 percent improvement.

“We are excited to launch several major enhancements to the Weigh and Win platform in 2015,” said Todd McGuire, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of the program. “We are currently testing a new smart phone app that will allow our participants to access their personalized meal and exercise plans, via their phone, as well as provide location-based meal recommendations, triggered by simply walking into a restaurant. Participants will also have one-touch access to be connected to a live Health Coach for on-the-spot support.”

In addition, Weigh and Win is currently beta testing a Spanish module that will provide daily nutrition and exercise coaching via SMS Spanish text message, as well as the Weigh and Win kiosk experience in Spanish.

In December 2014, Weigh and Win awarded grants to eight kiosk partners. Recipients included Boulder Valley School District, City of Arvada, Clinica Family Health Services, Elizabeth School District, Lake County Public Health Agency, North Colorado Health Alliance/Sunrise Community Health, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association: Craig and Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association: Steamboat Springs. The grants were funded by Kaiser Permanente and matched by the aforementioned partners.

The success of the program has also improved the financial health of Colorado communities. For every $1 invested into the program, $3.42 is saved in reduced health care costs, according to an independent analysis done by a Ph.D. researcher at Colorado State University.

The first annual Weigh and Win Conference will take place Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Boettcher Mansion in Golden, Colorado.

New participants can enroll online at www.weighandwin.com or at any of the 66 kiosks located throughout Colorado. See here for a full list of kiosk locations.


About Weigh and Win:

As a free, first-of-its-kind community program, Weigh and Win utilizes verified weight loss data through patented photographed weigh-ins and provides Colorado adults with access to an effective weight management platform. The program engages participants with rewards tied to measured results and is aimed at decreasing obesity rates. Weigh and Win is based on incentaHEALTH’s scientifically designed and technology based health and wellness program and is primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente, complementingthe organization’s other efforts to increase healthy eating and physical activity throughout the state. As a leader in measurable wellness programs, incentaHEALTH’s system is designed to help organizations and communities reduce their health care costs. The program utilizes gamification by offering incentives to individuals for improving their health. Colorado residents 18 and over can sign up for free and will receive daily coaching on healthy eating and active living by email or text message. The coaching includes tips for weight loss, weekly grocery shopping lists, daily meal plans (supplied by registered dieticians) and daily exercise routines (provided by certified personal trainers). Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at one of 66 community kiosk locations throughout the state. Success is rewarded with quarterly cash rewards for weight loss and maintenance, as well as monthly prize drawings for participating. Those who begin the program at an unhealthy weight (BMI ≥ 25) qualify for cash rewards.  Sign up for free at http://www.weighandwin.com. Follow Weigh and Win on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.




Fats: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

We’ve all heard how a high fat intake can lead to higher cholesterol, blood pressure and larger waistlines. However, if oils and fats are bad, why are avocados high in fat but also good for us? It’s because not all fats are created equal! Instead of simply cutting the group out of our everyday life, we need to learn to make healthier substitutions and choices to get the most benefit out of the good fats. To put things simply, here’s how to break it down:

Good Fats

  • Polyunsaturated fats: These are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, aka essential fatty acids. Due to the fact that our bodies don’t produce them, we must get them from food. These fats can actually help lower your total cholesterol level.

Examples: soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, walnuts, sunflower sesame and pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines), soymilk, tofu

  • Monounsaturated fats: These fats can not only help lower cholesterol as well as your risk for heart disease or stroke but they can increase your HDL, or good cholesterol. They are typically in liquid form at room temperature and are plant based liquid oils.

Examples: olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts, peanut butter

Bad Fats

  • Saturated Fats: Saturated fat increases total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol). Meat, seafood and dairy products are all sources of saturated fat. Dietary Guidelines recommend that no more than 10 percent of your daily food intake should come from saturated fats.

Examples: high-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork), chicken with the skin, whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream), butter, cheese, ice cream, palm oil, lard

  • Trans Fats: These are known as hydrogenated oils because they are made with more hydrogen to keep them solid at room temperature. They’re found in many processed and fried foods. A product is “trans-fat-free” if it contains less than half a gram per serving. Watch out for these! If you see the words hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or shortening, steer clear.

Examples: commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish), candy bars

Instead of cutting fat out of your diet entirely, try swapping out the unhealthy fats for the better ones. Again, some fat is actually a good thing and does provide health benefits. Watch your intake and keep these quick tips in mind: